Virtual retreat ideas are great for bringing your remote workforce together to foster a sense of engagement and cooperation.
With more business being conducted online, it is more important than ever that owners and managers make every effort to keep their employees happy and motivated even though they are located in different time zones.
This article will discuss the best virtual retreat ideas, and how to organize and manage an event that everyone enjoys.
What is a virtual retreat?
No list of virtual retreat ideas is incomplete without a brief explanation of what a virtual retreat is.
It’s helpful to compare a virtual retreat with an in-person retreat to get a better understanding.
An in-person retreat is a gathering that provides opportunities for team members and their families to bond in a non-work setting, while still maintaining a professional atmosphere.
While you may spend some time discussing topics like your company vision or mission statement, company culture, how to stay organized at the office, or how to keep productivity high in the workplace, the main objective of a retreat is to improve teamwork, collaboration, and morale within the workforce.
Virtual retreats are the same. The only difference is the way they are run.
Virtual retreats, as the name implies, are held online via a video-conferencing application that allows large numbers of people from different time zones to connect and interact.
Even though participants may not be physically present, the goal of virtual team building is to allow team members to take a break, socialize, learn a new skill, and increase engagement.
With that in mind, we now focus on virtual meeting ideas and how you can get started.
Virtual retreat etiquette and proper behavior
It doesn’t matter what virtual retreat ideas or activities you include, it is a good idea to start by reviewing good video-meeting etiquette.
Your team will be spending a lot of time online together, so take some time to create a set of best practices for everyone to follow to make the experience enjoyable.
You can include topics such as:
- How to troubleshoot the meeting software
- Basic software controls
- Acceptable behavior during the virtual retreat
- Dress code and grooming for virtual meetings
- Minimizing distractions
- Silencing landline and cell phones
- Keep track of the mute status
- If you have to get up, you can turn off the video
Remember that these are only suggestions. You can adapt your virtual retreat etiquette for your team to suit your needs.
Whatever topic you choose to address, keep the review under 30 minutes so that you can get to the meat of your program — your virtual retreat ideas – sooner.
10 best virtual retreat ideas to keep your workforce motivated
1) Field trip
The field trip is one of the most interesting virtual retreat ideas.
This may seem impossible considering that remote teams might be joining the retreat from other cities, states, or countries. But modern technology makes it easy to take a virtual tour of the Louvre or the Great Wall of China.
Employees’ families can also be invited to join the bonding event.
Bingo, the second of our virtual retreat ideas, is a tried and true favorite online and offline.
Virtual bingo works best when it is an ongoing game that lasts for the duration of the event.
Participants are challenged to get to know their coworkers and connect five squares across or down or diagonally without repeating the same coworker’s name twice.
You can be creative and create your personalized bingo board with facts like who built a website, who appeared on TV, who owns stock, who climbed a mountain, or who is bilingual.
3) Awards Night
An awards show is a great way to combine fun and recognition through team building.
You can make your awards show as elaborate or simple as you wish.
4) Meal gift coupons
Most employees are attracted to the food at an in-person retreat unless they’re participating in survival training in the wilderness.
Virtual retreats make it impossible to gather together for a meal. But while you can’t take your team out to a fancy restaurant, you can send the restaurant to them.
Send your team meal gift cards so they can get food delivered right to their doors. Invite everyone to eat together online.
5) Raffle prizes
Consider how much your business can save on expenses such as travel, room rental, and entertainment when choosing virtual retreat ideas for your event.
You can make your retreat memorable by spending some of the money that you have saved on prizes for attendees.
You can offer items such as equipment for your home office, time off, or bonuses as door prizes or rewards for game and raffle winners.
6) Murder mystery games
It’s no surprise that murder mystery games are a popular choice for in-person retreats.
No matter if your team plays the role of the suspect, the deceased, or the sleuth, everyone will have fun trying to figure out whodunnit.
A quick internet search will reveal a wide variety of virtual murder mystery options.
7) Escape games
Escape games are a great alternative to murder mystery games.
Online escape games are a competition between teams to solve puzzles and solve riddles in a timed format. The goal is to escape the room before the other team does.
If you want to be successful, your team must rely on each other and communicate well.
A simple internet search will reveal a wide variety of escape games that teams of all sizes will love.
8) Inclusion exercises
Inclusion exercises are a great way to make everyone feel valued and appreciated, as virtual retreat ideas go.
Make time to meet with your team to discuss workplace inclusion and to express your appreciation for the ideas, opinions, and perspectives of your employees.
9) Trivia games
The trivia game is one of the easiest virtual retreat ideas.
Online sources, such as the Trivial Pursuit board game, are available. Or, you can make your own questions for hours and hours of healthy, fun entertainment.
There are many ways to incorporate trivia into your virtual retreat. With a little creativity, you can be sure to find the perfect fit for your team.
It can be difficult, if not impossible, to come up with solutions when your employees are distributed.
Your virtual retreat can be used to remind remote workers how powerful brainstorming can be.
Discuss a topic and break it down into smaller groups. Then, challenge the attendees to work together to find a solution.
Reconvene in one large group and assign individuals to present the solution to the rest.
As you can see, virtual team building activities are as beneficial as in-person retreats if you want to recharge and motivate your team. These virtual retreat ideas will help you connect with your team virtually in post-pandemic times.